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A new, simple, hands-on toy. Curiosity piqued. Imagination ignited.
You can either seize the opportunity and extend the learning or let it pass by. I chose to grab hold of the curiosity and ran with it and boy did we have fun!
My daughter loves to build with PicassoTiles Magnet Building Tiles, so when my mother found a PicassoTiles Magnetic Drawing Board, she decided to get it as a special surprise. I thought, sure, sit and create a few pictures and the fun will wane, but to my surprise she absolutely loved it and it fueled such a curiosity about magnets that she went and gathered up all the magnets we have in the house, including some magnetic hematite stones. She proceeded to test and compare the power and strength of each magnet, discovered which magnets could bring up more balls from the drawing board at once and what other objects she could pick up using the magnets. She learned about the magnetic poles and that the magnets didn’t need to actually touch to attract. She then went around the house to see what the magnets would stick to (under strict orders not to go near any electronics) and if she could use her magnets to attract and move paperclips through paper and other materials.
Since she spent hours completely engrossed with this activity, and was so excited to show her grandfather what she had learned about magnets, I got onto our local library's website and found books on magnets, some informative and some just fun like The Shivers in the Fridge by Fran Manushkin. Remember that if you’re here in Michigan, you can request books through MeLCat, giving you access to a larger number of titles from across the state.
Click on the cover image to learn more about each title.
This fascination with magnetism actually lasted for several days and I have actively encouraged it for as long as it would last, offering to sit and read one of the books about magnets to her as she explores and so on. Thinking about it, I realized that my daughter was actually using the scientific method without even realizing it. By experimenting with magnets, she:
Conclusion: learning doesn’t need to be formal, sit-down, or a boring lecture. Learning can be child directed, spontaneous, fun and active, so look for those moments when your child takes an interest and then expand the learning through hands-on experimentation and books.
Added bonus, more magnet news! While taking a walk in Dexter along their boardwalk, we saw three boys “magnet fishing.” They were dropping in various sized magnets attached to ropes into the river to see what treasures they could come up with. “A lot of railroad spikes” one boy informed us, “a piece of rebar and an assortment of other small metal pieces” another said. Another learning experience for my daughter and a great way to clean up the river!
Happy exploring and reading!
-Kate @ BTBL
We are three generations that seek a way to get back to basics. It’s not that we eschew technology, but sometimes simpler is better, especially in raising our children. Mom was a reading teacher, Amanda is an early childhood educator and Kate a children’s literature specialist and former school librarian along with the latest additions, a daughter (now 6) for Kate, and two sons (now 3 and almost 2) for Amanda. We advocate reading aloud, the simple toys that use imagination and encourage creativity and learning in the kitchen, which can be a fun mess but also teaches life skills. Join us in raising healthy, happy, inquisitive and intelligent children.
We are mom Sandra and daughters Amanda and Kate, all with backgrounds in literacy and education, who want to share our philosophy of taking the basics of life; books, simple toys that encourage play, imagination and creativity, and using cooking and baking to teach math and real life skills to raise happy, inquisitive children. Join us in exploring the old and the new and sifting through the myriad of research to consider what is best for our children.